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Trail construction would force city to cut down 30 trees

Posted at 9:37 PM, Jun 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-14 22:37:48-04

The city of Omaha had made plans to connect two bike trails: Turner Boulevard and Field Club. But to do it, the city would have to cut down more than two dozen mature trees on Pacific Street near 36th.

Neighbors are hoping for a compromise, allowing them to keep the old trees.

"We're pro-trail, we don't not want the trail to go here, we're not against it, we just don't want you to take down 30 trees to do it and we don't feel like that’s unreasonable."

Chelsea Slattery lives across the street from the proposed trail would be built. One day she saw orange dots on the trees and realized the city planned to cut them down. 

"I guess we'd just like to know why the neighborhood wasn't even told about the project, if it's been going on for a while, which clearly it has been, I don't know why nobody knew about it, at all,” says Slattery.

The city is planning a 10-foot wide bike trail along this side of the street and would have to remove every tree in order to re-grade and pave the area. 

"We moved into this neighborhood because of the beauty of the neighborhood, everything is old, it just looks nice," says Charles Dahir, neighborhood resident.

Some want a trail there, but think they can make it smaller, and keep the trees. 

"It's nice to have the shade here and it'd actually be nice to have that path here, but to have to that shade over it would be great for anybody that's using it anyway," says Jeremy McManus, neighborhood resident.

But a bike trail would be a boon for the biking community, Harry Baulisch says riders have to use the street now, which can be dangerous going up hill. 

"If the vehicle behind you is not paying attention and if you're not paying attention, it's an accident waiting to happen,” says Baulisch.

Others are okay with the project, but just want smaller trees to replace the ones getting removed. 

"My only concern is that they make it nice, like they did on the trail. The little cute ones on the trail, because it would be so bare. You'd have to make it look natural,” says Alma Tomasello, neighborhood resident.

Removing the trees could also make trail-goers vulnerable to golf balls, as a course sits next door. 

"I don't know what the statistical percentage is, but the chance of me getting hit by a golf ball would be like me getting hit by lightning,” says Baulisch. 

Construction is set to begin this month according to the parks and recreation website, but one parks employee said today that the project is currently on hold. Parks officials did not return phone calls this afternoon.